I thought I had moved on. I thought the whole issue of not going on that mission trip had been resolved and didn't affect me anymore. But when I walked into the bank to take care of some last minute things before going back to school and moving past this confusing summer, the lady at the desk remembered me. She remembered me because I had come in many times earlier in the summer to cash checks that had been donated to help with the cost of the trip. So when she innocently asked "How was your trip?" I was not prepared for the sadness I felt. I answered her question appropriately and told her what had happened, even though I felt like letting my anger show and responding with "What, my trip to the hospital?"
Earlier today, when I was trying to finalize the organization of my room, I came across two pictures and the sadness returned yet again. They were pictures of two girls I met at the center for teenage girls in Honduras last summer who I really connected with. Should I just put them back in the drawer, I wondered? They're not really relevant to my life right now so why even set them out? This thought spiraled into a complete mental battle with myself. Why even bother thinking about my faith and all of that right now? I've learned since I was little that all you have to do to get to Heaven is believe that Jesus died for your sins and ask for forgiveness, so why bother with all of this "extra" stuff. Mission trips, campus ministry meetings, and blog posts about my beliefs are not "requirements" so what's the point? Surely everyone would understand if I strayed away from my faith now, after all, I'm a college student! College is a time for rebellion and being crazy, so why not have fun with it and worry about all of that serious stuff later? (I'm impressed with myself that I had time for all of this deep thinking and writing and also doing my homework. Time management skills!) And then it hit me.
I've been through this struggle in my mind before when I was in high school. I knew that youth group wasn't cool, but deep down I knew I liked it. It's where I felt accepted and not judged, and I enjoyed what I was learning, even if I didn't admit that to anyone. On the mission trip, I felt accepted by these children who have somehow overcome terrible circumstances in their short lives without losing their loving spirit.
Whether we admit it or not, I think the desire to be accepted is something we all have within us. It has always been an especially strong desire for me, probably too strong sometimes. Fortunately for me, I have found the satisfaction of that desire within a good crowd. I have never been good at being a rebel, and I think God designed me that way for a reason. I crave acceptance, and people in my life who profess to be Christians have done a great job of accepting me. For that reason, I always come back to my faith. There's a lot I still haven't figured out and I don't know what the future holds, but what I do know is that God has never abandoned me, and never rejects me, and for that reason I'll keep holding on to my faith.